we have no sign of how christ treated his betrayer on a daily basis, you know. we do know he was trusted with money, and that they had no idea it would be him. when it was said that one of their number would betray their lord, not one of them nodded sagely and said “i knew it, it’s judas.” not one of them.

how easy it would have been for him to put distance there, to just step away, to lessen the pain and the sting every time judas looked at him. but no. no, not christ. it was always, always, always love.

there is constant agony over the knowledge that jesus CHOSE him. a crowd, a following, all of israel to chose to be one of his closest friends, and jesus looked at the multitude and met the eyes of the one with a greedy heart and jealous mind and he said “that one.” he looked at his betrayer, the one who would commit the Sin of Sins, and he smiled and he said “father, give him to me.”

“let him be mine.”

“i choose death. i choose pain. i choose to let this one know my heart before he breaks it.”

he could have been delivered up another way. someone else could have told the priests — someone could have seen the group and known and ran to earn payment. someone who was unaffiliated, whom they wouldn’t have known and been so hurt by.

but no. no, jesus looked at him and loved him.

god made the job harder in no physical manner, only with love. and so no one has ever, i think, broken the lord’s heart so thoroughly as judas. because he let the serpent into the nest and made it comfortable, walked toward the hungry lion with welcoming arms.

in the end, it was also the story of us, betraying him who we had no reason to betray, and suffering the burden for it when we refused his grace. our redemption in the arms of him whom we worst offended. “while we were yet sinners”

judas is the story of grace overflowing, cascading, washing over us all. jesus pulled him into dances, had inside jokes, sat next to him at meals, ruffled his hair in the mornings, winked at him during sermons. judas was no outcast — he was in jesus’ close circle, his family. jesus stayed up late sometimes with him and talked about stars while the other disciples slept around the fire. they had dialogue about old testament verses and their meaning, swapped stories of their childhoods, kissed each others’ mothers on the cheek. judas heard his sermons and likely had comments, questions, ideas, adorations. (because jesus chose to lead him but judas chose to follow) they were blood brothers, until judas shed jesus’ blood, sold his brother for silver, did not listen when all the earth cried out. (all creation, all eternity building to this climax) (cain and abel) (joseph and judah) (yeshua and judas) (we’ve heard this before, we know how it ends don’t we, god bring the plot twist or avert our eyes)

most powerful of all, when christ washed his feet. kneeling, wrapped in a towel, and silently, gently, lovingly he lifting the feet of his betrayer to intimately clean them.

“i knew it, it was judas” never came from any of their mouths, not even from the mouth of he who knew. instead he smiled, and the kiss was only expected. “i knew it, it was judas” “father let him be mine”

“i choose judas”

We often read the gospels and think “Oh my goodness, Judas was such a villain!”

We single him out because He did the unthinkable and betrayed Jesus. But what if you read the passages again and reminded yourself of all the times you have betrayed Jesus?

All the times that you exchanged God for something seemingly more worth your time? Your attention? Your effort?
And what’s worse, we do it more than once. Everyday, even. Yet the grace of God covers us. Jesus died even for Judas.

So what is your “bag of silver coins”? Because we all have something.

We’re all Judas.